LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES FOR YOUR FAMILY AND WORK THAT YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT

“The greatest leaders we’ve studied throughout all our research cared as much about values as victory, as much about purpose as profit, as much about being useful as being successful. Their drive and standards are ultimately internal, rising from somewhere deep inside.”

— JIM COLLINS, GREAT BY CHOICE

I was at a conference recently where a presenter asked the audience if they tend to give their best energy, attention, mood, and effort to their work, their self-care, or their family – and overwhelmingly, the audience acknowledged that work got the best of them. Some in the audience attempted to justify that this was necessary – as they had to be the most patient, kind, empathic, etc., version of themselves in order to keep their customers, clients, boss, and/or employees satisfied (after all – that’s how they make a living).

If you are honest with yourself – how would you answer this question?

My good friend, Dr. Parker Houston – an expert in the field of leadership, teaches that the most effective leaders establish healthy self and family leadership principles, practices, and priorities – and then translate these attributes into their workplace and community. From his perspective (and mine) – there should be an emphasis on prioritizing the time, money, and energy that we invest in our personal, spiritual, and family growth and development. This doesn’t mean that our work needs to suffer – but – doing life in the alternative – shouldn’t necessitate that our family, marriage, and/or self-care suffers – right??

The days where the head of the household was primarily responsible for being the “breadwinner” – and they could just fully delegate family leadership to a spouse or other caretakers – certainly seems to be declining – and I hope that this mindset is completely obsolete in the very near future. Just like a healthy organization requires strong leadership – a healthy family needs engaged parents that are open to learning, growing, listening, loving, caring, and investing quality time and attention into their kids and spouses!

“Much disturbance in children and adolescents can be understood as a consequence of the uncertainty of adults about their values.”

— ABRAHAM MASLOW

In regards to effective self leadership – I believe this includes: lifelong personal growth, internalized core values, having a virtuous mindset – serving others, self-awareness, people skills, principles for behavior and decision making, and a clear vision and mission that can be effectively articulated and is committed to contributing and promoting to the growth of the people and causes they care for.

In the paragraph that follows – if you think about the impact a leader has – and apply it to your family – are you creating the impact you want on your spouse and kids?

“The virtuous organization is built from the business leader, out. Her or his vision and values shape and define the company’s culture. If those values include concern, caring, compassion and commitment to making a positive difference and contribution to society — they are reflected in everything that the business does — from the manner in which it operates, treats employees and customers, to its community involvement and philanthropic initiatives. Think of it this way, the business leader is the person who drops the rocks in the pond, and as the circles ripple out, they reflect his or her image and likeness.”

In another article that I read – it suggested that in order for a business to develop a powerful and practical virtuous culture – it would need to incorporate its values and virtues into its everyday language and communication practices. This would be reflected in the symbols, meetings, rituals, stories, legends, problem-solving strategies, recognized heroes, and in how it rewards and holds its members accountable. Doing this would help align the people who work for such an organization with a common vision or purpose. It would help to provide direction and clarity, increase order and predictability, maintain solidarity, pass along traditions, supply role models, help employees find purpose and passion, recognize accomplishments, aid in recruiting and hiring the right people, and serve to guide and legitimize everyday decisions and actions.

Again – if you think about this from the perspective of your family – it would absolutely create a remarkable foundation for raising kids in an environment with clear rules, expectations, shared beliefs and values, stories that inspire, myths that build identity, etc., and would inevitably lead to a healthier and more fulfilling family culture and experience. Plus, by establishing a commitment to virtuous behavior in your family – it increases the commitment to doing so at work – and saves you from the unhealthy practice of compartmentalizing your identity and values.

The people that I know who have established consistency in their values, virtues, principles, and priorities in who they are (their identity), how they build relationships, what they do, and why they do it (their purpose) – are easily the most effective and influential leaders I have ever encountered.

These individuals are really clear about what matters to them – and they tend to have an incredible amount of energy – as they spend the maximum amount of time doing things and being around people that energize them.

While the type of self/family/work/community leadership that I have described here might be rare – it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t serve as an aspirational guide for what could be. If we put more planning, energy, time, and money into developing our personal, spiritual, and family wellbeing – I have no doubt that our return on this investment would be extraordinarily positive.

Now, imagine for a moment what it might feel like to lead your family with such clarity and confidence – and to have daily practices that prime you to operate at optimal levels in mind, body, and spirit. Then, if you can imagine being asked who gets the best version of you – and having peace of mind to answer this question in a way that was aligned with your values and priorities – which then empowers you to do your best work and become a more confident and impactful leader.

That is how you create a life of radical Authenticity. And I understand that all of us are doing our best with what we have available to us – but, my hope is that I can do my part to make more available to you – especially in light of information and practical guidance for how to live more Authentically. That’s my mission – as I honestly want to leave this world in a better place for my kids – and I believe this is the most important thing I can do and offer to achieve this.

Reference Article: The Need to Build Virtuous Organizations

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